unique stories about my father - joe agoglia

A Man of Humility

I believe it was in the early 1990s that Billy Graham was in NY to preach his evangelistic message. One of my father's closest friends was a minister and he was very active in orchestrating this entire event. Many years of preparation and prayer went into this historical gathering. Local churches came together, ministers allied with one another, and the Church as a whole did everything to prepare for this immense undertaking.

As the event drew closer, my father was offered by his close friend the opportunity to sit on the same platform with the Reverend Billy Graham. My dad's response speaks volumes as to the type of man he really was. He expressed that he was honored by the offer especially to sit next to such a godly man, but that he would prefer being on the floor, assisting people as they searched for their seats.

I just shake my head when I think of my father's response. He had the opportunity to meet Mr. Graham and even sit with him during the entire crusade, but he felt differently. It wasn't that he didn't respect Mr. Graham or care to meet him. It's just that his desire was to help others and, in this context, this was where he felt he could serve the most.

This is so telling of my father's humble spirit. As I look back on the many individuals my father met throughout his lifetime, he wasn't enamored by the rich, the affluent, the celebrities. It wasn't that he didn't care for them. It's just that his interests were somewhat different than their passions. As I've shared many times, my dad loved people particularly those who were marginalized, considered "different" or outcasts, and those who weren't accepted by mainstream society. He had a huge heart for the poor and widows. And with regards to the unborn, he cared for both the mother and that precious loved one. It wasn't just the child he loved. Both were equally important to him.

Shortly, after my father passed on, I was invited to attend an invitation only breakfast. Many distinguished guests were present. As I was introduced and intermingled with some of the guests, I felt quite uncomfortable. Something didn't seem right to me and I knew from the very beginning what it was. Almost every person I met basically talked about their achievements, their wealth, and them self. I felt like a foreigner in every sense of the word.

I can't describe the overwhelming feeling of loss I had during that particular breakfast. All I could say underneath my breathe was, "Boy, dad, do I miss you now!" If my father was at that meeting, he could see right through these individuals. He knew how to speak their language, but he also knew how to get to their hearts even when it was veiled by other things. If I could ask my father where his heart was then, I know what he would say: "I would rather be with mother helping those in great need, assisting the widows who don't have a loved one any more, or simply meet with men to encourage them to be the husband and fathers they're called to be.

There are many stories I could share. This is just one which reflects my father - a man of great humility.